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Graduate students reject tuition hike

By Tacie Holyoak
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday January 17, 2003

The Graduate and Professional Student Council said they oppose an administration plan that will try to reduce the effects of a tuition increase by raising the minimum credit requirement from six to nine units for all graduate students.

Under the administration's proposal, current students would not have to pay for the additional three units.

The administration's plan to keep graduate-level tuition down has been colored by serious doubt since it was released Tuesday. The GPSC announced their opposition to the plan yesterday in an emergency meeting.

While tuition increase haunts many university programs, graduate students are looking at the possibility of a 50 percent tuition hike.

At the Board of Regents meeting in November, Likins examined a scenario that would raise tuition for graduate students by $1,250.

Wednesday night, Dean Gary Pivo presented a proposal to the council that he said would reduce the effect of a tuition increase if it were as high as $1,250.

A key part of the proposal is an increase in credit requirements from six to nine. Pivo recommended that students pick up the additional credits through independent study and internships.

"We don't just see you as a day laborer," Pivo said. "You are learning, and we want to give you credit for that."

If the plan is not approved, graduate students would face as much as a 20 percent pay cut, Pivo said.
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Everyone who comes through these gates will eventually pay

- Peter Morris
GPSC President

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However, members of the GPSC voted to oppose the plan because they said the guidelines for the proposal aren't clear, and the additional credit requirement is too burdensome.

Thomas Kinney, a graduate student of English, is concerned that an increased credit requirement means that graduate students will have to take a "dummy course" a course without teachers or syllabi, where anything will be accepted.

GPSC members also questioned how students who currently take six credits, will be able to squeeze in three more.

Veronica Diaz, a representative of the College of Education, said she works 30 hours a week and takes six credits.

"I don't know if I can still work 30 hours with nine credits," she said.

Peter Morris, president of the GPSC, said he worries about the level of morale among graduate students. He believes students may drop out.

Morris is also concerned that fewer graduate students may enroll at UA. Unlike the current graduate assistants, new graduate students will not only be required to pay a 50 percent tuition increase, but they will also have to pay for the jump to nine credits.

"Everyone who comes through those gates will eventually pay," Morris said.

Pivo recognized these issues when he presented his proposal.

"People will drop out," he said. "We know that."

Despite this realization, he believes this plan is for the good of the 2000 current graduate students.

The GPSC voted last night, opposing the plan 12-1 with one abstention. They will present their opposition Friday at the Graduate Council Meeting.

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